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Scientists of Bionand, University of Malaga and CIBER identify a new drug that could mitigate the consequences of COVID infection.

Researchers from Bionand, partner of NANBIOSIS and ​​the University of Malaga toguether with Red de Terapia Celular, CIBER-BBN and CIBER-NED have taken another step in the search for new rapidly implantable therapies to stop the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease, identifying a new drug that could prevent or mitigate the consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The team, led by UMA researchers Iván Durán and Fabiana Csukasi, will study over the next year how treatment with 4-Phenylbutyrate (4-PBA) modulates the inflammatory response that occurs in the most severe cases of COVID-19.

The first results have already been published in the scientific journal ‘Cytokine and Growth Factors Review’

The inflammatory process that is identified in the most serious cases of coronavirus causes uncontrolled and excess cytokines – molecules responsible for organizing the body’s defenses – even triggering vascular hyperpermeability and multi-organ failure. Precisely, the control of this “storm” of cytokines, through those who control them, that is, the infected cells, is the proposal of the researchers from the University of Malaga.

“When cells are stressed by the infection they call up the cytokines and, the more stressed they are, the more insistently they call them, causing that uncontrolled inflammation. For this reason, one possibility to treat COVID-19 is to reduce the stress on the cells, “explained Durán.

According to the researcher, repositioning with the anti-stress drug ‘4-PBA’, approved for clinical use against other diseases and, therefore, easy to take to the clinic, could modulate this cellular stress, which is also present in pathologies such as diabetes, aging or carcinogenesis, in turn, classified as risk for Covid-19.

For further information click here

Other members of the Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration Laboratory (Labret), led by Professor José Becerra, and of which the researchers Manuel Mari-Beffa, Gustavo Rico, José Miguel Tejeiro, Rick Visser and David Baglietto are also part of the team of researchers in this project granted by de Andalucía Government with 90.000€.

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OITBs OPEN CALL TO FIGHT COVID19 – SafeNMT OITB project

JOINT OITBS OPEN CALL TO FIGHT COVID 19

SAFE-N-MEDTECH OITB project in which CIBER-BBN is a partner througth its ICTS NANBIOSIS, gathers expertise from 28 partners around the World focused in enabling the safe translation of nano-enabled medical technologies from Proof of Concept to markets and clinical practice. The sudden COVID-19 outbreak has meant an unforeseen challenge that requires rapid answers from the Science, Technology and Innovation Community. These is a framework where SafeNMT could deploy all its potential: first, because nanotechnology is a Key Enabling Technology that can contribute to innovative approaches to fight COVID 19 and/or other viral pandemics. Second, because the integration of capabilities in SafeNMT should be a key driver to integrate, accelerate and translate nanotechnology innovations from TRLs 4-5 to TRLs 6-7.

In this context, and in the frame of the Joint OITBs Open Call to fight COVID 19, we aim in opening our services, at no cost, for selected proposals which accomplish the following conditions:

  • Innovations for prevention, diagnostic and/or therapy for COVID 19 based on the use of nanotechnology applied to Medical Devices and In Vitro Diagnostic
  • The expressions of interest should present a solid S&T background and a sufficient technological maturity (starting TRLs 4-5)
  • A clear development pathway, with an initial identification of product needs is encouraged

What we offer (non-exhaustive list, to be agreed with the selected expressions of interest – Consult the services in our catalogue):

  • First evaluation of the project/product based on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and Healthcare system needs provided by our pool of experts
  • Technology scanning to identify redundancies/synergies
  • Nanomaterial characterization
  • In vitro preclinical research
  • Access to clinical samples and Biobanks
  • Assistance in prototyping and qualification of manufacturing facilities
  • Regulatory advice and support in the adapted European regulation for COVID 19 medical technologies
  • Links to clinical networks
  • Business development coaching, links with business angels, investors, capital risk, etc.

Typically, the project will cover costs related to activities mentioned above, according to the budget limits available. If outstanding expenses beyond the available budget are needed, these will need to be covered by the user. The project won’t be able to cover formal regulatory costs, production costs, clinical development costs or any external costs that might be needed for the testing and production of the nano-enabled Medical Technology/ies.
Please note that all information provided will be treated confidential and is stored only for the purpose of this call.

Submission deadline: October 2nd, 2020, 5:00 p.m. CET.

Applicants will be informed about the outcome of their application in mid October. Activities are envisaged to start beginning of November.
APPLY HERE!

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NANBIOSIS scientists in Aragón, explain on TV their research againts coronavirus

The special program on the coronavirus pandemic  by “En Ruta con la Ciencia” of Aragón Televisión, analyzes different aspects of the disease with special attention to the work of Aragonese scientists. Among them, two  research groups that coordinate NANBIOSIS units 9 and 27.

Starting at minute 44’45 ‘of the program, Doctor Jesús Lázaro, researcher of the BSICoS group of I3A-UZ and CIBER-BBN, led by Pablo Laguna, which coordinates NANBIOSIS U27 High Performance Computing Unit, explains his research. For almost 3 years, Jesús Lázaro had been working on a European project to develop a respiratory and heart rate monitoring system for patients with EPOC to control and predict episodes of worsening disease, but the current situation has led him to redirect his goal to try to provide solutions in this crisis and have creates an application for the mobile phone to detect from our home, if we have a viral infection: – “The parameters measured by this application have to do with the nervous system Autonomous, – explains Jesús Lázaro – they are the heart rate, its variability and the respiratory rate, these three parameters would allow observing a response through SARS-COV-2. The application works based on a technology that uses the flash of the mobile phone camera as a receiver to obtain a signal that is proportional to the blood volume of the finger put on the flash light, what allows detecting both, the number of beats per minute and the morphology of the arterial pulse, to obtain the respiratory rate. At the moment this application has been tested by the research staff and the next phase is to assess it with the general public. As the application is based on detecting autonomic markers, a very high sensitivity is expected, as well as a very low specificity, which would allow detecting not only SARS-COV-2 but analyzing these parameters in other contexts and in other diseases, even detecting other eventual viruses of other eventual pandemics ”.

Further information on the research project here

Starting at 28’14 ’’ One of the problems of the coronavirus test is what is known as false negatives, people who have passed the disease, but are not detected and could continue to spread it. A research group is developing early diagnostic tests to try to reduce this error rate. Pilar Martín Duque, at the IACS Aragonese Institute of Health Sciences, is a researcher of the NFP group of the INA and the CIBER-BBN, led by Jesús Santamaría, which coordinates NANBIOSIS U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit : – “All techniques have a detection limit and a sensitivity, it is necessary to have a minimum amount of virus in the body for the virus being detected, if the viral load is low it may not be detected at that time, it is possible that some patients with a low viral load recover, but in other cases the virus begins to grow and after two weeks they can be positives”- explains Pilar Martín. Her project makes PCRs more effective by concentrating the viral load before testing. – “There is a curious case, – continues Pilar -, of an American navy ship, moored in China, in which five sailors were detected to be infected by coronavirus, so they were quarantined during fourteen days and, after new tests with negative results, they were allowed to return to the United States on the ship. However halfway through the journey, the same five sailors suffered an outbreak of the disease. Therefore, our study would be useful for detecting patients with the virus tested for the first time or for not discharging patients who had been already diagnosed if they really are not yet negative”.  It is estimated that 10% of the population has infected 80%, these 10% are the so-called “superspreaders”, they are infected with a high viral load, but they feel well and do not know about it. For example, there have been several cases in choirs, such as the Choir of Zarzuela in Madrid, where 53 members were contagious out of the 80 members form the choir, this is because when singing or speaking very loudly, more drops are produced that carry the virus”. But why do some people become infected before others? Pilar explains that this is related to some, already known, receptors for entry of viruses, the AC2 receptors, and there are people who has more of these receptors than others.

Further information on the research here:

If we have learned anything from this pandemic it is the importance of health and research, a robust research system has the knowledge, tools, and human talent to respond to any situation. If we want to be prepared for the next pandemic, it is important and essential to continue betting on research.

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“We need a drastic change in the organization and management of science”

The Jorunal “Redacción Médica” has created an espace call Covid-19 Lessons to gather critical evaluations and recommendations of the most relevant personalities in the health sector, so that the National Health System and the professional and business ecosystem that surrounds it can draw conclusions and face future similar challenges with greater guarantees.

Laura M. Lechuga, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS U4, from CIBER-BBN at ICN2-CSIC, coordinates CONVAT, one of the projects selected by the European Commission to advance in the knowledge about the Coronavirus, adds her perspective to the document Covid-19 Lessons: “We need a drastic change in the organization and management of science

According to prof. Lechuga, ·one of the main successes in this crisis has been the intense and excellent dedication of a large part of the international scientific community who, from a multidisciplinary perspective, has tried to contribute their talent and training to make great strides in the knowledge of this new SARS-CoV-2 virus; this crisis has driven this collaboration exponentially. “The rapid mobilization of funds and resources available to scientists has also been (and continues to be) impressive during this crisis. The pandemic has placed before the eyes of all humanity that the greatest values of our society lie in knowledge, training, science and research to face a problem of these dimensions that unfortunately may be repeated in the future.

As main errors, Laura Lechuga highlights the disconnection between the scientific and political world. “The scientits had contributed its knowledge and rigorous studies to warn of the dangers that lie in wait for us, but it is clear that until now the connection between scientific advice and government policies is extremely weak, not only in our country. country but also internationally”

Possibly, at the national level, our scientific system could have given a faster response if it had been much more robust and competitive and had not been so weakened due to the numerous cuts suffered since the previous crisis and the lack of replacement of researchers. Our research environment, although it is nourished by a lot of talent, is not so much in its own development resources, infrastructures and technologies, so its contribution is being more limited.

There is no doubt that we need a decided investment in science both in terms of human and material resources, and a drastic change in the organization and management of science, which causes our scientists to invest most of their valuable time in requests for funding, resources human and cumbersome administrative justifications, which have little to do with scientific research“.

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Pilar Marco explains on TV her group’s research against Covid-19 pandemic

M.-Pilar Marco, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS Unit 2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS) has been interviewed on Spanish TV (RTVE) to talk about her research against the Covid-19 pandemic in the frame of the CSIC POC4CoV project, for the development of new and rapid diagnostic tools.

Nb4D group of CIBER-BBN and IQAC-CSIC, led by Prof. Marco is working on the development of tests to increase the efficiency and speed of diagnosis of the methods currently on the market.

According to Pilar Marco, the new strategy of the project differs basically in two fundamental aspects: on the one hand the technology, which is based on the current knowledge of some of the CSIC’s research groups in micro and nano techno technology and, on the other hand, in the selection strategy of the antigens that will produce a more specific and sensitive response to the or SARS-COV-2.

The time required to develop these tests is relatively short since researchers have the advantage of having detection technologies already developed and tested in other types of projects, but even so, these tests need between 6 and 8 months of development to obtain the first prototypes that, obviously, will have to be validated so that they can be made available in the market in a safely. Therefore the new tests will help us to be much better prepared before the new waves of the pandemic expected by the epidemiologists.

The interview can be watched in the following link (0:41:50)

Further information on POC4CoV project here

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“Have we lernt the lesson?”

Heraldo de Aragón publishes today an opinion article written by Jesús Santamaría, Scientific Director of Nanbiosis U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit about the COVID19 Pandemic in the relation with the investment in R&D.

The proffesor at the University of Zaragoza makes a quick review on the
the main milestones reached by researchers to fight the COVID 19: “In early December some Wuhan residents start to get sick after visiting a local market, with what looked like flu symptoms. Nevertheless, Chinese health officials report to World Health Organization on New Year’s Eve that a group of patients presented a new type of pneumonia. Just two weeks later, a Shanghai lab published the genome sequence of the virus, and explained its differences from other coronaviruses. It was an advance decisive that allowed laboratories around the world to undertake frenetic investigations in different lines of action: development of PCR diagnostic tests, rapid diagnostic kits (there are already various on the market), mechanisms of infection (researchers Chinese publish an article on March 4 in the journal ‘Science’ revealing the role of the ACE2 protein in cell invasion) or possible therapies: several rapidly developing vaccines (the main race is between teams from China and the United States, but almost all developed countries have very advanced projects, including Spain), and therapeutic alternatives such as the one published by German scientists on March 20, also Science Journal, based on the blockade of an essential enzyme for the coronavirus” In summary, “research is producing spectacular results with unusual speed“, sais Santamaría and explains: – “This dizzying display of world-class science has been possible in countries with a powerful scientific structure, with the muscle to respond quickly to a crisis caused by an unknown pathogen. In Spain there have been relevant contributions, but in general, far from the world front line. In fact: Spain’s R&D effort continues at just over 1.2% of GDP, compared to 2.07% for the EU average or 3% for Germany, even behind countries such as Portugal or Hungary. In others countries, -continous the proffessor- even during the 2008 economic crisis there was commitment to science and technology as a way of progress. This is also the case in countries that not so long ago we considered technologically backward.  In the case of China, the evolution has been amazing”, -confirms the rearcher according his experience as Editor of an excellent scientific journal for more than 20 years where most of the articles had a signature from that country. – “Hopefully this crisis will help us to change. To believe in research again as a seed of progress. And to demonstrate it with sustained investments, and giving it the central role it deserves.”

The proffessor ends his article quoting the words of the activist Mary Lasker: “If you think research is expensive, try the disease.”

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